Covid latest: Winter cases fall as Omicron variant proves less deadly

Both the number of severe Covid cases and circulation in general continue to decline in Monaco, indicating a less dangerous coronavirus season than last winter. We explain why.

Monaco’s health department revealed on Tuesday that there had been 67 new cases of Covid detected in the Principality in the week ending 25th December 2022. Of the 1,201 PCR and antigen tests conducted, 13.5% came back positive, compared to 20% in the first week of December.

The incidence rate has now dropped to 171, down from 258 the previous week and a peak of 536 in early December.

Hospitalisations are also falling, with 25 people, including 13 residents, now being cared for at the Princess Grace Hospital Centre, compared to 46 two weeks ago.

All indicators suggest that the worst of the winter Covid season is over.

It is a very different situation to what Monaco was experiencing this time last year. By 27th December 2021, Covid numbers were rising at such a worrying rate, the government reinstated some restrictions to limit the spread of the virus over the new year and back to school period.

So, what has changed?

It has been one year since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that there was a new variant of concern: Omicron. It would go on to change the trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe.

Omicron was identified as being more transmissible than Delta. Within four weeks it had replaced Delta as the most dominant variant in the world.

But by March 2022, WHO estimated that almost 90% of the global population had antibodies against the Covid-19 virus, whether through vaccination or infection, and the new variant was causing less severe disease than Delta on average.

Since the emergence of Omicron, the virus has continued to evolve. Today, there are over 500 sublineages of this variant circulating, but not one has been designated as a new variant of concern.


Photo credit: Cassandra Tanti, Monaco Life